Duterte more popular than media dare admit?

A HUGE throng of Cebuanos were animated as the convoy of Secretary Mar Roxas drove by on the way to the presidential debate at the University of the Philippines-Cebu campus. The still pictures could be a dream for Roxas’ drumbeaters who could use them to disprove claims that he’s unexciting. This dream could turn into a nightmare, however, if audio is used to accompany the stills. The crowd was shouting “Duterte, Duterte, Duterte” as Roxas’ convoy passed by.

I saw a video of this incident at the FaceBook posted by Tamaraw Riders (Even Demata?) but not on television. I may not have read a lot of papers but I failed to read any mention of this vociferous Cebuano pro-Duterte crowd in the broadsheets.

There’s validity in the numerous complaints of Duterte supporters on why Manila papers failed to show the big crowd attending his rallies. Their complaints are usually accompanied by photos of the banner crowd in attendance. Are the papers and even TV trying to create a bandwagon for a presidential candidate who’s not Duterte? Are they conditioning the mind of the voters that Duterte has a lot of catching up to do?

This reminds me of a tongue-in-cheek comment by Duterte when told that he was lagging behind in poll surveys: “Talo na tayo!”

The fact is, if we consider the militancy of Duterte supporters, his rivals wouldn’t be taking him lightly. He’s decidedly popular among Bisayans, the overseas Filipino workers and those who don’t want a clone of President BS Aquino The Last to sit next in Malacañang.

A dearest friend, former Chairman Tong Payumo of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority wrote last Sunday of his meeting with an OFW at the Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge. The OFW, Rey Loar of Leyte, said that OFWs in Qatar are overwhelmingly for Duterte.

“How about your family back home?” Tong asked.

“Of course, they’ll have to vote for Duterte or else I’ll stop sending money to them!” Loar replied, according to Tong, who concluded that this meant every OFW vote would be multiplied by at least three.

Loar said that OFWs are very angry at the “laglag-bala” MO and the opening of balikbayan boxes. Duterte alone gives them hope for a change in the country, according to Loar.

I still have some misgivings about Duterte although he has lately tried to tone down his fascist tendencies. His outbursts on heading a bloody administration still send shivers to my spine. Then of course, there’s his unrepentant “joke” of cursing the Holy Father Pope Francis because of the traffic his visit has caused. He also has to urge his followers to cool down and stop threatening those who don’t believe in him.

This said, I still consider a Duterte administration much better than an unalloyed continuation of the “daang matuwid” that’s nothing but a hypocritical catch-phrase. Among the presidential candidates, only Duterte, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago don’t have any Aquino baggage to weigh them down.

Sen. Grace Poe is believed to be the “Plan B” of the administration as shown by the support given her by the Solicitor-General in the disqualification case against her before the Supreme Court. Why the SolGen supported her instead of the Commission on Elections that had disqualified her gave the game away. But Poe isn’t only beholden to Aquino. She’s also a public defender of industrialist Danding Cojuangco’s handling of the coco levy. No wonder, she’s now called Poejuangco.

Oh yes, she tried to tone down these criticisms against her by claiming that she didn’t sign the Senate report on the disposition of the coco levy. Well, try again. A netizen proved she was lying by showing a copy of the Senate report with her signature in it.

I remember her adoptive mother Susan Roces once said: “Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw.”/Efren L. Danao/19espiloy47@gmail.com


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